Do Hard Stuff

I few weeks ago my pastor preached a sermon, it was really good, but one point has stuck in my brain. “do hard stuff”. He was talking about walking into the mess of you instead of running away from it, Jesus walks into the mess with us, and in His mercy helps us to clean it up.                                                                                                                                                      Running away from the mess doesn’t make it disappear. When your house is a mess and you leave it that way, it does not clean itself up. You have to do it and it can be a lot of hard work. My house right now is in the same state that my soul was in and I have a lot of hard work to do. Running away only makes things worse. If you try to ignore a person’s bad behavior pattern towards you, they think it is okay to treat you wrong, or disrespectfully. Often they are oblivious to their behavior, and the hurt that it causes. This is my mess. I have run away from it for so long, I stuffed it, I hurt every time I was disrespected, and each time it happened, it hurt more, but I did nothing to stop it. I expected that eventually it wouldn’t hurt so much. I guess I expected to become calloused to the painful words. I never did build up the callous that I thought I would. Instead I built up scar tissue. It was fragile and painful, it ripped open and was raw and bleeding every time the harsh words came at me.As time went on, even the slightest possible disrespect was almost unbearable. I knew that a lot of those words were unintentional, they were said out of someone else’s pain, and so instead of pointing out the pain they were causing me, I stuffed it. I didn’t want to hurt anyone else. I also thought that if I pointed out what was happening to me I would be rejected, that I would become too much hard work and not enough to keep a relationship with.                                                                                                             As my pastor was speaking, God was speaking to my soul. God was whispering that now was the time to do the hard stuff. It was time to tell those that were hurting me what they were doing to me. It was time to take a stand for myself. He let me know that I was not treating myself respectfully either. He was explaining to my soul that as His daughter, I deserved better. Others were supposed to treat me with the love and respect that He treated me with. This was a shock to my system. I thought that as a good Christian woman, I was supposed to be turning my cheek every time. God told me that that wasn’t acceptable. I was broken, I was like shattered glass, extremely fragile, and that was not what God had planned for me. He wanted me to fight for myself, to push forward into my mess and deal with it. Thankfully He is not letting me walk into it alone.                                All this came to a head in the last couple weeks, I have started to work on my relationships, I am trying to see that I am worth it. That I am valuable. It is a new way of talking, a new way of thinking, a new way of expecting better. I am just at the very beginning of this, but I am here now. It is painful to speak truth, when you expect rejection. I have said things that needed to be said for so long, but have been locked up in my soul and rotting. The stink was overwhelming, overpowering and unbearable already. It was already crashing in on me, I was starting to wonder if life was just too much. I couldn’t see my way through my mess. I felt trapped within my own putrid thoughts and feelings, and just wanted to run away. I think I had already been trying to run away. I closed up my heart, my mind, and I lived instead in this desperate fear of rejection, doing whatever I could to hold on to relationships, even unhealthy ones. I was running, but it was like I was on a treadmill, I was running, but not getting anywhere.                                         Don’t get me wrong, this person that I have started with had no idea how much pain I was experiencing, I was really good at hiding my pain. This person didn’t understand the pain that the words that were said caused. We are working on a new way of communicating. This person is also opening up to me, telling me the pain that they are experiencing, and I am understanding that the behavior is because of other stuff going on in that person, and really has nothing to do with me, or at least not to the extreme that is being done with. We are experiencing a new, better relationship. I know that it won’t always be as easy as this feels right now, because this is so new. I feel like I am valued, that my opinion matters right now, and that is how it should be.                                                                                                      I still have a lot of hard work to do, a lot of people to talk to. I am growing a backbone. This fear of rejection is still prevalent, it is lurking just under the surface of my emotions. I am in a hard place emotionally. I feel worn out, ragged, with torn edges. I feel translucent, I feel like a fragile mess, ready to shatter into a million pieces at the whiff of hard emotions. I am, with God’s help, walking into the mess that I have made of my life, willing to do the hard stuff, the hard work of healing myself and the healing of important relationships. I am so glad that I don’t have to do this alone, that even if I am rejected, I have not been rejected by the one who matters most, my Creator, my Heavenly Father, my God. He sent His Son to pay the price of my own bad behavior. I have rejected God, I have turned away from Him. I do not often accept the help that He offers me. I keep trying to do this life on my own, even though I know it is impossible without Him. My most important relationship, with God, has been damaged, I am the one who causes God pain, when I reject Him. The really good thing is that He never turns away from me, He never rejects me even though I reject Him. He finds me to be worth it, worth all the hard stuff. So if He thinks that about me, I will try to believe it, and treat myself accordingly. I will not accept what I have accepted in the past. I am tired of living in the old me. I am learning to live in the new me. I can breathe in this new place. I can heal here. Isaiah 61:1-4 (NLT) says this about His Son, before Jesus came to earth, this is what Jesus came to do… “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His glory. They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations.”                                                                                                                                               This is what He is doing in me, He is my good news, He is my comfort, He has set me free to be the new me. He has given me a new, fresh beauty. He is causing me to praise Him because He loves me. He is rebuilding me, He is reviving my soul. Praise God!! This will take work, I also have to change my attitude, I will have to open up my raw painful places. I will have to change my view of things in the light of God’s mercy to me. I will have to give grace and mercy to those around me, and allow God to do the hard within them. I will not be perfect, and neither will they. However, now I know I am wrong when I stuff my pain and emotions inside my soul, eventually it leaks, or bursts open tearing up my heart. I want to say that I will remember this and live in this new me without turning back, I wish this to be true, but I also know me, and I will struggle with my old me, I was used to my old place, it was not always comfortable, but it was familiar. It is a little scary to walk away from what I know, from who I thought I was. I was aware of God’s greatness, but now He has added a whole new level to my awareness of just how great He is. I am grateful. Pray for me as I do this hard stuff and I will pray for you as well. We all have hard stuff in this life, hard things we have to face. Life is tough, but God is good, and you are worth it. 🙂

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